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No Place Like Home

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    No Place Like Home

    The following article was in last week's Economist.

    Can't help but wonder how many Pakistanis living abroad think about relocating to Pakistan. How much money would you wish you had in savings? Where in Pakistan would you relocate? What profession would you consider(if not an early retirement)?


    Returning Afghans
    No place like home: An international programme is helping qualified Afghans to go home

    A MONTH ago, Abdul Hamid Mobarez, a 70-year-old Afghan, left his cosy life in Paris and went back to Kabul. A writer and former journalist who fled his country in 1989, Mr Mobarez was the first beneficiary of a new programme set up by the International Office for Migration (IOM) to encourage qualified Afghans to return home. Mr Mobarez has now started his new job as deputy minister of information and culture. His daughter, a surgeon who also lives in Paris, is currently raising money to set up a hospital in Kabul and is about to go back to teach at the university.

    So far, over 3,100 Afghans from 26 countries have registered under the programme, which matches candidates with jobs in ministries, NGOs and international agencies. The most eager to go back are Afghans based in Iran and Pakistan. For those comfortably settled in the United States, Australia or France, however, the choice is harder. It could mean losing the prospect of asylum or foreign citizenship, as well as leaving behind western salaries, comfortable apartments and running water. But according to Shafi Shaker, a San Diego businessman about to start working for the trade ministry, money is not important. Seven candidates have already followed Mr Mobarez, and another 40 are scheduled to go before April. The IOM hopes to send back 1,500 people over the next two years, provided it raises the $9m it is looking for.

    The programme pays for each refugee's journey home (although a sharia lawyer hired by the justice ministry wants to pay for his ticket and have the shipping of his books covered instead). It also adds $200 to the monthly salary--often no more than $50--paid by returning Afghans' new employers. Ministries and local NGOs, which have trouble competing with international organisations' higher salaries, are especially eager to draw from the programme's candidate pool, which has people qualified in disciplines from teaching and architecture to engineering and medicine.

    Despite the goodwill of the Afghan diaspora, matching supply and demand is not easy. The education ministry knows it will need teachers for the next school year, which starts in March, but has no idea yet how many and where. The University of Kabul needs extra teachers but finds it difficult to hire returning Afghans who will receive a higher salary than colleagues who stayed through the years of fighting and hardship. In addition, despite the needs of the provinces, most candidates get no farther than Kabul. According to Daiva Vilkelyte, the programme's coordinator, the idea is gradually to expand outside the capital as security conditions and communications improve.

    Would I like to live in Pakistan? Yes. When? Who knows, but someday, yes. This is great news for Afghanistan to start from scratch, with educated and "honorable" personalities in power, like the person above. Note not all of those in power are honest or honorable.

    Ours is not to reason why;
    Ours is but to do and die
    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


      I will certainly relocate to Pakistan. and by this I mean As soon as possible. I would be working in same sector as I am working here in london. the buzzword IT.

      End is Begining!
      پاکستان پاکستان


        Pakistan is not in the same postion as afghanistan. Locating to afghanistan would mean to start from all over again and I respect and those ppl who would start a new life over there coz it will not be an easy step for them.

        And locating to pakistan, would be easier, but for me its something out of quesion now at the moment, why? coZ i will not adjust in the atmosphere and to work as a female in pak is everything but rosy! especially because working females have a bad reputition there. Visiting pakistan from time to time is something that I will not give up.